The Nonsense, and Danger, in Blaming Sarah Palin

Sunday, January 09, 2011 - 06:56 PM

If there's one thing we learned from the awful shooting in Tucson on Saturday, in case we didn't know already, Sarah Palin makes some liberals completely lose their minds. It was about 10 minutes after the shooting was announced that Markos Moulitsas of the liberal website Daily Kos, last seen advancing political discourse by writing a book comparing conservatives to terrorists, linked to a map on the Sarah Palin website which featured crosshairs "targeting" Gabrielle Giffords' district in the last election. Obviously, then, Sarah Palin was responsible for the shooting.

Clearly, the shooter was a Tea Partier, a Palin-ite and had followed Palin's direction to kill her political opponents. The fact that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Leadership Council had both used similar bulls-eye imagery on their election maps, and the DLC actually referred to targeted districts as "enemy territory", was ignored.

It was one thing for Moulitsas to push this ridiculous line of attack — his bread and butter is unreasonable attacks on Republicans which fire up the crazies on his site — but even those previously considered "reasonable" liberals jumped on this meme. It was truly frightening how the mob mentality took over. On Twitter, Facebook and blogs everywhere, Palin-haters delighted in blaming this tragedy on the woman they despised. It brought out the worst in the political left. While people lay dying they pushed this story with hateful glee. They didn't seem to notice, as they complained about "rhetoric," that their own rhetoric had taken a turn for the crazy.

When information slowly seeped out about the shooter: that he believed in mind control, that he thought the world would end in 2012, that his favorite readings included the Communist Manifesto, nobody apologized for their horrific rush to judgment. Instead, these same people, who all but accused Sarah Palin of murder, doubled down on their off-base conclusion and blamed "the culture of violence" advanced by Palin and her map.

It didn't matter that they were wrong. All that mattered was that Sarah Palin would be responsible for the murders. It's not the first time the left has behaved like this. A Census worker was found dangling from a tree so the left concluded it was the crazy right-wingers who hate the government who hung him. When it was ruled a suicide, no one apologized for these accusations. When a bomb was discovered in Times Square, people including Mayor Bloomberg, speculated that perhaps it was planted by a Tea Partier upset about the healthcare bill. When it turned out to be your usual, run-of-the-mill Islamic terrorist, no one apologized for being so wrong.

Going back a little further, liberals spread the message far and wide that the D.C. sniper was a lone gunman, a right-wing nut with a vengeance against the government. It turned out to be an extortion plot. D.C.-based attorney and blogger Gabriel Malor spent Sunday morning tweeting other examples: the IRS plane crasher who quoted the Communist Manifesto, the Pentagon shooter who was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, the University of Alabama shooter who voted for Obama — all of these were blamed immediately on conservatives, and the list goes on and on.

The difference with Saturday's shooting is that the liberals making all the previous accusations went quiet when it turned out they were wrong. But now those who publicly accused Sarah Palin of facilitating murder aren't backing away despite the evidence mounting that they were mistaken. While previous conspiracy theories vaguely blamed conservatives and the conservative movement, Saturday's mistaken ideas on what propelled the shooter had a target every liberal loves to hate: Sarah Palin. They're not letting it go, they don't care that they're wrong, if it means taking down Sarah Palin they'll do and say anything, continue to push a story which makes no sense. (What if it turns out the shooter never saw Palin's map? What if his politics leaned left? What if he hated Congresswoman Giffords for something other than her politics? Do any of these questions matter?)

As one Democratic operative anonymously admitted to Politico: “They need to deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers...Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.” People are saying this, out loud, with no shame. People are dead and operatives are talking about who to "pin" this on and they don't mean the shooter.

James Delingpole sums it up for the Telegraph in Britain: "If anyone is gloating about the suffering and death inflicted on Congresswoman Giffords and her entourage, it most certainly isn’t her opponents in the Tea Party. It’s all those unprincipled grievance mongers on the liberal-left."

Something is really wrong with the country and it has nothing to do with Sarah Palin.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.


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Comments [85]

Enn from MI

@George from Queens, New York - THANK YOU!!! So nice to know there are like-minded people. :D

Jan. 11 2011 09:41 PM
Marcello from Brooklyn

Reality!... What wonderfully shifting thing!… We all have a view and an explanation of what is “real” neatly and conveniently fitting our own pre-conceived belief system, regardless of any evidence to the contrary staring at us straight in the face.
Look at the insightful comment made by Don L from CT for example.
With an entire right-wing media empire headed by Fox News and a score of conservative talk-radio characters pummeling the country daily with misinformation and plain lies, our friend from CT states that “The Left, causes dysfunction and then exploits it…”.
No evidence as of what that means is provided of course, if not for a nostalgic memory of the “melting post” we once had (is he talking about the mail office in the summer?...) before it was destroyed by the “divisive and conquering Left”. Fantastic!!!...
I guess, just like Karol, he is trying to defend Sarah Palin from the charges of being the inspiration for what happened. But, while the shooter might have nothing to do with Palin, does it really take somebody to die in order to realize the potential destructive impact of such rhetoric? The shooter might have acted on his own but that does not change the fact that Palin’s tone (and that of the whole right-wing establishment…) is what it is! And if anybody is trying to claim that there is any sort of “symmetry” between the levels of partisanship and animosity to be found on the Left and on the Right, then contact me. I have the name of a great psychiatrist of could put you right back in touch with reality.
Incidentally, this “Conquering” Left has just suffered a major electoral defeat and has recently emerged from eight straight years of conservative hegemony that has left the country with the economic, financial, foreign policy and social legacy we are still trying to fix.
So, in the wake of this terrible tragedy the question is: “Where does ignorance and misinformation stops and mental illness begin?”

Jan. 11 2011 01:57 PM
isluc from NYC

I am stunned by Karol's level of discourse here and by the fact that WNYC would have such a partisan ideologue hosting this thread. I keep reading, over and over, that no one is blaming Palin directly, but that it is apt and appropriate to discuss the environment in which this assassination attempt occurred (please read "In Giffords’s District, a Long History of Tension" nytimes 1/11/11). Childishly, Karol just cannot shake her notion that everyone is "blaming" Palin, even though they are not.

Jan. 11 2011 08:42 AM
simona from Lubbock,tx

I believe that the blame lies on the young man that committed the act not Paline. There were signs early on that the person had issues and something should have been done years ago. At the first sign of crazy someone should have taken the boy to get help. Parents also need to become more aware of what their children are doing and being exposed to. This was build from years of hate and years of no one saying or doing anything until he shot someone. Now lives are lost and people are feeling even more unsafe then usual. We need to band together and stop being so afraid to say or do something when you know someone with mental issues.

Jan. 11 2011 07:34 AM
Enn from MI

Look people, the only reason this nut-job choose Giffords is because she (unfortunately) happened to be an accessible and familiar "target" in his imaginary war - "we covet what we see" - remember?

However Palin in the wake of this tragedy could of easily found an opportunity to show her dignity and remorse. I am not saying what she has to take a blame, but she would of risen in the eyes of many
by saying - "I condemn that has happened and regret that my words has been paralleled in any way with this tragedy... " or similar. Instead she (as expected) just being herself - cold, small-minded and self-serving....

Jan. 11 2011 12:50 AM
Don L from CT

The left causes dysfuntion and then exploits it. we once had unity and a melting post and they have divided and conquered.

Jan. 10 2011 06:39 PM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

My mother asked a very good question about the shooting. "Why didn't anyone in the crowd pull out his/her gun and shoot the gunman before he shot all those people?" Arizona has among the most liberal gun laws in the country. Anyone can buy and carry a concealed weapon without a permit. In that crowd of people at the Giffords meeting as well as the shoppers at Safeway, there must have been at least a few people carrying guns. What were they doing when the guy started shooting? Why doesn't anyone ask about their responsibility and why they were not performing their civic duty to take down the shooter and protect the public from him. The woman who finally stopped him did not shoot him, nor did the guys who tackled him.
One of the arguments used by the NRA and other gun rights enthusiasts is that the citizens must be armed to defend themselves in situations like these. So, if there were any NRA members or gun-toters in that crowd, they have a lot to answer for as far as their inaction in failing to stop this massacre.

Jan. 10 2011 04:36 PM
James from Grosse Ile

Fact is, that political violence in the US is and historically has been virtually always left-wing. Check the presidential assassins and would-be assassins. Check the murderers of representatives. Check the revolutionaries attempting to overthrow the government. Oswald. Czolgosz. Booth. Jim Jones. Squeaky Fromme and Sarah Jane Moore. The FALN terrorists, pardoned by Clinton. William Ayers (personal friend of President Obama) and Bernadette Dohrn and the SDS and all its sprouts, which bombed numerous sites and killed people. Democrats who have mob-stormed Republican candidates' campaign offices (Orlando, 2004) and shot up Republican candidates' offices (several instances). Union violence and threats against private individuals and politicians. Leftist voter intimidation in Philadelphia. Bombers at Republican conventions. Violent protestors at Democratic conventions. Destroyers at G20 and WTO and World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings. Leftist cannibals assaulting peaceful right-wing demonstrators (you remember the bitten-off finger, right?). Eco-terrorists who burn down auto dealerships, housing developments, and cars. Leftists who destroy radio station antennae. Airplane terrorist attacking government buildings.
One could go on and on and on citing the overwhelmingly left-wing dominance of political violence in the United States. Because that's where most of it is--on the left. Both in practice and in advocacy, the left is the home of political violence. You Libs really do need to bother doing some historical research before you start talking about . . . well, anything, I'm going to say.

Jan. 10 2011 02:39 PM
Patricia Brown from Glen Carbon, IL

I agree that Sarah Palin incites hatred for anyone who disagrees with her.

Jan. 10 2011 01:12 PM
Yvonne from Park Slope, Brooklyn

In such a complex political environment, it is impossible for any one single person to be totally responsible for anything as many agents and events contribute but, that said, I do not understand the defense of Palin.

Sarah Palin has shown herself to be more than willing to both say anything AND allow anything to be said in her presence; there is no sense of ethics or honesty in what she has been doing. She has been willing to both misinform and incite.

Jan. 10 2011 12:19 PM
Yvonne from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Irresponsible behavior is what it is.

Correct me if I am wrong but I thought I read somewhere that Jesse Kelly of the Tea Party, while speaking out against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, used the image of a rifle.

Wasn't it at a Palin campaign that people shouted "Kill him, kill him!" and she did NOTHING to confront that??

If this is all true, then it is irresponsible behavior. Violent rhetoric and imagery should not be allowed as a part of the democratic process!!

Jan. 10 2011 11:57 AM
George from Queens, New York

A response to the first paragraph of this story and the phrase that some "lose their minds" with regard to Sarah Palin"

For those so called conservatives who keep saying that Palin would do just as good a job as Obama, get real! You ask why so many people in this country get worked up when they hear any story about her. The reason is, that she is a dangerous woman. There is no better example of hubris in a human being than that of this woman claiming that she's up to the task of running this country. She exemplifies a under educated, overly religious attitude that says, "if you just have enough faith" you too can run this country and do a good job. Nothing can be further from the truth. The religious right in this country has hijacked the Republican Party and until the people in the Republican Party who recognize her for what and who she truly is and represents, the party will go nowhere. This country was founded by smart men that new if you mix government with religion, very bad things would happen.

Stop calling people who use their minds for reasoning and problem solving “elitists”.

Stop electing candidates “who you can have a beer with”

Throw all fundamentalist out of office (THEY ARE DANGEROUS)

Elect smart people who don’t boil down our current problems into simplistic black and white issues, then use religion to make decisions on these complex matters.

Insist on rejecting candidates who reject science.

It’s amazing to me that these candidates will ask the rhetorical question, “do we really want a religious test for those seeking public office?” Of course the answer is no. But at the same time may I ask, how about an IQ test?

Look, if someone is changing the brakes on my car, I do not care if he or she believes that the world is 10,000 years old. I do not think that will impede their performance on fixing my brakes or on a hundred other jobs that they might be doing. But if someone is running for public office, a job that includes influencing what my children are taught in school, or if my children will eventually be drafted into the military, or if this country gets involved in world war three, then it is HUGELY important what they believe. I would like to know if they believe the rapture is going to occur, I’d like to know if they believe Armageddon will occur in their lifetime, I’d like to know if they believe that there was an ark that carried two of every animal during a flood, and I’d like to know if they believe that we all came from two people named adam and eve. Because if they believe these things are real and not allegory, then they ARE IDIOTS! These types of people think that scientists can be dismissed because they have all the answers that they need from a book called the bible. If you then ask them where the bible came from, they then give you that deer in the headlights look and answer “god of course”. They don’t know anything about the history of the bible and how it was manipulated.

Jan. 10 2011 11:53 AM
Mitch Eisenman

The point is, words are weapons. And if they're not used responsibly they can ratchet up hatred and anger. It's naive on your part to not think the far right has fueled the acrimony that's prevalent across the nation.

Jan. 10 2011 11:44 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Palin is not to blame but she does bear SOME responsibility for the angry rhetoric. In the Internet age, we all bear more responsibility for our words.

There are left wing nutjobs with guns. There are right wing nutjobs with guns. In general, lots of non-aligned bystanders get hurt when one of them goes off.

Jared Loughner is turning out to be a 'lone gunman' (KM-Check your typo above) with no coherent political philosophy. The event that set Mr. Loughner off could just as likely have been the House's reading of the Constitution as anything else. He's a loon and should have gotten help sooner.

AZ's (and our own) gun rights laws need a serious re-think. Handguns are far too prevalent and easy to obtain. The 'well regulated militia' argument of the Second Amendment holds little currency in modern America. And no group of armed citizens are going to stand against tanks, jet aircraft and gunships.

Karol - Didn't we mention the Second Amendment in last week's exchange?

Jan. 10 2011 11:34 AM
CJ from New York City

All politicians who repeatedly use images relating to guns and violence and use language referring to physical battles, violence, guns and ammunition are partially to blame for the environment that created this tragedy. That includes Sarah Palin. Palin officials are now trying to say that the cross hairs are "surveying symbols" - this is a ridiculous and dishonest statement. Loughtner may have been deranged, but this was a political assassination. The political environment in our nation is most likely a factor.

I'm very surprised this discussion is not including the role of Hollywood, blockbuster movies and violent video games as major contributors to a general fascination with and acceptance of extreme violence in our society.

Jan. 10 2011 11:32 AM
Kathrin Perutz from New York City

If Sarah Palin places the crosshairs of her sights on the Arizona district represented by Gabby Giffords, and if the Congresswoman is then shot (accompanied by rampage and killing of various other citizens ), then Sarah Palin must be held to some measure of accountability. It's not only the owner of the finger on the trigger who is responsible for a gun going off - and any person who views the consequences of what she advocated and does NOT accept some responsibility is morally reprehensible.

Jan. 10 2011 11:16 AM

Where did this young man get the idea to gun down this Congresswoman and innocent people? Yes he seems to be mentally unstable but it is very naive of anyone to think that hate speeches and targets on maps did not contribute or are not connected or did not cause this horrible act of violence.

Jan. 10 2011 11:09 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Palin is not to blame but she does bear SOME responsibility for the angry rhetoric. In the Internet age, we all bear more responsibility for our words.

There are left wing nutjobs with guns. There are right wing nutjobs with guns. In general, lots of non-aligned bystanders get hurt when one of them goes off.

Jared Loughner is turning out to be a 'lone gunman' (KM-Check your typo above) with no coherent political philosophy. The event that set Mr. Loughner off could just as likely have been the House's reading of the Constitution as anything else. He's a loon and should have gotten help sooner.

AZ's (and our own) gun rights laws need a serious re-think. Handguns are far too prevalent and easy to obtain. The 'well regulated militia' argument of the Second Amendment holds little currency in modern America. And no group of armed citizens are going to stand against tanks, jet aircraft and gunships.

Karol - Didn't we mention the Second Amendment in last week's exchange?

Jan. 10 2011 11:07 AM
Anna Sale, It's A Free Country

Thanks for all the conversation, all. There's lots to talk about here, so if you're available at noon, let's talk about it together. Join the live chat at noon at

Jan. 10 2011 10:50 AM
stella from NYC

There's a profound difference between free speech and hate speech, and a distinction must be made between rhetoric which destroys (literally and figuratively) and rhetoric which supports freedom of speech in a democratic society. When political invective rises to recent levels, there must be a bipartisan, apolitical response to condemn it and eliminate it from public discourse, especially when the source is a candidate for national office. Civility is essential: however flawed, the democratic process must be civil. Hate speech (regardless of the source) cannot be tolerated in a free society.

Jan. 10 2011 10:32 AM
TONY from VA.

This scene is becoming all to familiar...though let us be thankful Jared Loughner wasn't packing Jesse Kelly's M16 rife . The NRA should be proud that anyone , stable or unbalanced has the option to purchase a semi-automatic weapon to express themselves .

Jan. 10 2011 10:25 AM

Here's the thing. When you heard the news about the shootings, did you think, "Wow, it's gotta be one of those left-wing, pro-public health care, anti-gun nuts".

Yeah, he's crazy. But his crazy has roots in right-wing fringe groups.

The very premise that Sarah Palin et al aren't somewhat responsible for this guy is obtuse.

As for the danger, that much I agree on. Some other right-wing nut might shoot me for disagreeing with them.

Jan. 10 2011 10:24 AM

It's just a coincidence that Palin, who spreads an ideology vilifying her opponents, who is a major proponents of gun culture, and who talks about who is and isn't a "real American," is embraced by jingoistic, paranoid, violent factions like the Patriot movement, white supremacists, and American exceptionalists. Clearly, people who believe that Palin is guilty of rhetorical excess that promotes dangerous hatred are just whiny liberals. Propaganda never drives unhinged people to violent action. Right. Keep telling yourself that, and good luck with that pesky conscience.

Jan. 10 2011 09:01 AM
RW from Australia

Enoch Powell, Barry Goldwater and Sarah Palin all incited violence and suspicion within communities. Sarah, you would do well to condemn what has happened in Arizona and be careful of your thoughtless rantings in future ... it's too late for Enoch and Barry!

Jan. 10 2011 04:19 AM

If a Muslim from Detroit put a map on the Internet of 20 politicians with crosshairs on them and one of them got shot. Where would he be now. Just asking.

Jan. 10 2011 03:15 AM

The Nonsense, and Danger, in inciting people to violent acts and then refusing to be accountable for such acts.

Karol, you are wrong. And it's sad that you don't see your own error here...and would rather point your finger than look in the mirror.

Jan. 10 2011 02:00 AM
Roland from Brooklyn

I swear, you Americans freak me out!....
(Not to mention "Americanized Russians"....).

The shooter is most likely just an nutjob with no-connection to Sara Palin's map. We don't really know...
Somebody on the Left connected the shooting with Palin's idiotic rhetoric, just as right-wingers would have done had things been the other way around.
Palin has probably no connection with this incident but she is still the standard-bearer of that particular brand of intellectual vacuity, hypocritical opportunism and pathetic self-promotion that is so irresistible for so many conservatives in this country.
In the meantime, what seemed to be a good woman is fighting for her life while others, including a young girl are dead, thanks to another psychopath with a gun.
A classic American story...

Jan. 10 2011 01:13 AM
Enn from MI

And fun it is!

Well, to get serious here for a minute.
What happened is the tragedy, and yes, some nut is responsible.
And I am repeating again - that all public figures must not ever call to
violence and in Palin's case she've done it often and with passion.
That is why Palin got in the line of fire for her misguided rederik.

Now - radical liberals as bad as radical conservatives - it never done
to no country any good. All these two groups are pronged to domestic
terrorism - the results unfortunately very evident....
We all need to meet in the middle. The ideal situation is by-partisanship.
Both parties have some good to offer and prevent each other from falling
over the cliff one or another way.
After all we all want the same thing - for our country to prosper and for
us to prosper with it (wealth and health-wise) with no wars or violence.

I can open the whole new discussion on that sadly utopian subject but
I rather wish Mrs. Giffords a speedy and successful recovery, as well
as to the other survivors. And I grief for the lives lost, especially for the
beautiful 9 year old girl. And we all really want some justice...

So good luck and good night everybody!

Jan. 10 2011 12:55 AM
GenSpec from San Diego

And don't forget Newt Gingrich who blamed liberal society when that woman murdered her own two children (and blamed it on a black man), whereupon Gingrich said "vote Republican." Was that crass or what? After two children are murdered to actually ask people to vote Republican.

Or Pat Robertson blaming 9/11 on gays and liberals and the ACLU.

All this blaming is nonsense.

Jan. 10 2011 12:11 AM
Enn from MI


For all intelligent people here, I hope you will find it very funny, as I did :)

Jan. 10 2011 12:04 AM
The Reticulator

You mean this isn't a contest to see who can make the wildest, most baseless accusation? I realize I have no chance of winning, but I thought I could at least join the fun.

Jan. 10 2011 12:01 AM
Satan from Hell

Another idiot using this tragedy to spew ideology. You're no better than the "liberals" using this nut to further divide an already moronic nation.

Jan. 09 2011 11:55 PM
Enn from MI

The Reticulator - I would not so quickly place the blame on Obama.
Wonder under who's leadership we were when we got into Iraq, could you kindly remind me,
the name of our previous president seems to escape me...
I am obviously having a terrible memory laps :P

Jan. 09 2011 11:53 PM
Enn from MI

Still up :D
Jason, according to you liberalism is a sickness, justification of hatred is not - very, very interesting and hard case... :P

Jan. 09 2011 11:40 PM
The Reticulator

I blame President Obama and the American Leftwing Hate Machine for the murders. The President's lame response to the Fort Hood massacre just encouraged the next nutcase to take a cavalier attitude toward pulling the trigger.

Jan. 09 2011 11:37 PM

Against Palin writes, "Hitler never actually pulled a trigger or opened the gas valves so I guess by your way of thinking he wasn't responsible either. Palin's brand is all about justification of hatred. Oh and I'm not a liberal"

Jeez haven't hear that "Saul Alinsky" style line before. I hate to break it to you, but your combining a faulty comparison with an ad hominem. You are a liberal...I have heard this same line many times before, and only from liberals. I know liberalism is becoming less popular now (to nobody's fault but their own) the sooner you admit you're a lib, the sooner you may be able to get help!

KAROL, Thanks for the article. It's good to see that there is a beacon of common sense in this "divide and conquer" climate the left always seems to want to perpetuate

Jan. 09 2011 11:07 PM
Bonju Patten from NY

The Republican Party and their ilk must be held accountable and Karol writers like you should also have accountability. The 22 year old killer would not have killed if it were not for the hate speech made by media members of FOX NEWS and SARAH PALIN, who's only contribution in life was to sprout to a size 100 bra.

Jan. 09 2011 10:53 PM
Enn from MI

to Karol,
not blaming Palin for the shooting, but I'll be happy to see her GONE from public view back into the hole she crawled from. She is scary, she is as dangerous as Stalin, she is paranoid and violent.
I am done arguing :) I'm just toying with you.
I'm with Oprah on Palin. I still have hope in the vigor and intelligence of American people!
Good night ;P

Jan. 09 2011 10:46 PM
Enn from MI

Again, I did not say what it did. And yes I was ok with that. Because you taking it out of content, and for Palin it was the whole point to say this phrase. And I HATE STUPID PEOPLE! And Palin and Bush are stupid.
I am ashamed for my country that they were elected in any capacity. And I hope USA can reverse its descend into "Idiocracy" scenario,
because these two certainly fit the bill. Along with Rush Limbo and others alike. :P

Jan. 09 2011 10:34 PM
J A Diaz, USMC from Nellis AFB

This blind defense of hateful rhetoric is just as irresponsible as the left wing running to tie this together.  It seems that there are very few sensible minds left in politics, you come to Palin'd blind and are in complete denial over the obvious logical correlation. Why not use this as something for positive change rather than just everybody running to their corners and lawyering up enough or defending blindly?

Jan. 09 2011 10:34 PM
Karol from NYC

I really hate to bring this up because, again, I don't believe "rhetoric" had anything to do with a crazy person opening fire but were you fine with Obama's line about "getting in peoples faces" and "if they bring a knife, you bring a gun"? Not to mention 8 years of violent verbal attacks on president Bush. Were you ok with all that? Do you blame any of that for this shooting? That's *actually* the definition of double standard.

Jan. 09 2011 10:25 PM
Enn from MI

Karol, you are hopeless. I repeat - I do not blame Palin for this specific accident.
But shouting nonsense lends her on the front page when s-t hits the fan.
Again - regardless of this incident you insist that "Reloading" against fellow Americans,
even rhetorically speaking - was an OK thing for public official to do. Right?
Placing targets on districts what she doesn't agree with for Palin is rhetorically possible.
For us to question her ethics (if she even has any) is immoral and we need to apologize...
You know what I see - I see DOUBLE STANDARD!

Jan. 09 2011 10:20 PM
Karol from NYC

My answer to the "why" is that I think blaming anyone other than the shooter is ridiculous and blaming Palin specifically is absurd. I defend people who I think are being scapegoated, like Palin is here. Latest info has the shooter being a 9/11 conspiracy nut who was an atheist and a pothead. How can anyone believe he was *also* a follower of Palin or could possibly be even remotely influenced by her?

Jan. 09 2011 10:08 PM
Enn from MI

Problem is not that the Palin specifically to be blamed here or not. Problem that regardless of this incident public figures should not aggressively call to violence in any state or form. And these who so ready to shield these politicians from critique should really should ask themselves "WHY!?"

Jan. 09 2011 10:02 PM
Steve McFarland from Park Slope

I came here to comment on the substance of Ms. Markowicz's piece (and, to adhere to the comment policy, still will: avowed leftist, agree with most of this if you turn the polemics down a few notches, except for that last line – surely the problems with the country have SOMEthing to do with Sarah Palin). I came here to comment on her piece, but I'm struck by base the tone of the comment thread here – ad hominem attacks, blind polemics.

This is WNYC, I had expected something at or above the level of a NY Times thread. What gives? I imagine that much of the NYT's civil tone comes from aggressive comment moderation, and I can't fault WNYC for not having the money to put more people on that job, but I remain profoundly disappointed in us, the readers. Too bad. I'm an RSS subscribed and had already been considering unsubscribing, but I'm afraid this has sealed the deal.

Jan. 09 2011 09:32 PM
Karol from NYC

Tom, thanks for your comment. My overall point remains that just because rhetoric *could* inspire action doesn't mean that it did. In fact, it's becoming clearer with every piece of information that it didn't. And if Sarah Palin's silly little map had nothing to do with it, and people spend two days blaming her for it, they should apologize or, at the very minimum, stop repeating the lie.

Jan. 09 2011 09:29 PM

My answer to your question - "What if it turns out the shooter never saw Palin's map? What if his politics leaned left? What if he hated Congresswoman Giffords for something other than her politics? Do any of these questions matter?" - is no. The fact that perhaps this time Sarah Palin's violent metaphor didn't incite any violence doesn't mean it was appropriate. The fact that some liberals do this this doesn't make it right for a conservative to do it. Deranged people can be influenced by extreme language from either the right or the left. The point isn't whether this particular deranged person was tipped over the edge by Sarah Palin's violent imagery. The point is that it MIGHT happen, because there are a lot of deranged people out there. Even though I'm a liberal, I know Sarah Palin doesn't mean to incite violence. I believe her when she says her imagery was misinterpreted. But that's the point! There are too many people out there who are psychologically on the edge. Any politician or media pundit, whether liberal or conservative, who uses the kind of language and imagery that can so easily be misinterpreted needs to look hard at their rhetoric and tone it down. And please, all of us, let's start by toning down our own rhetoric, stop thinking we're enemies. I was a Republican for decades and now I'm a Democrat, but I've never changed in my love for America and for my fellow man. Let's remember what we have in common. Thanks for caring enough to write about these issues and thanks for listening to my point of view.

Jan. 09 2011 09:25 PM

We've removed and edited a few comments. Please remember the posting policy, which asks that you remain civil. This is a difficult topic, no doubt, but thanks in advance for your efforts to make this a productive conversation.
-IAFC Staff-

Jan. 09 2011 09:22 PM
Karol from NYC

Sorry, correction, I worked for a City Council candidate in 2005 (we lost).

Jan. 09 2011 09:16 PM
Karol from NYC

Jane, nice try but the last time I worked for a politician was 2004 (the Bush campaign in Colorado, we won) and I would never work for a politician again. But cute that I seem "unsure" of my opinion. What am I unsure about? That people who think Palin had something to do with this are off their collective rockers? I'm positive about that.

Jan. 09 2011 09:14 PM
David Beahn

If you ask me Karol Markowicz frightens me and I'm not a liberal.

Jan. 09 2011 09:10 PM
Karol from NYC

I don't consider myself a Tea Party member (I just prefer to be a good, old fashioned conservative Republican, and I don't need a new label). I also don't support Sarah Palin for any future elected office (though I do like her).

People who blame this shooting, even under the guise of blaming "rhetoric", on Sarah Palin or anyone but the shooter should be the ones to apologize.

Jan. 09 2011 09:03 PM
Jane_Rebelowski from Washington State

Your mocking of others points of view leads me to believe that you are unsure of your own opinion. Its hard to be sure when a different politician may be paying you more in the next election cycle.

Statements made by operatives of both major parties including paid public relations firms, being discussed by the public at large is good. Perhaps those of you who make your living by ripping apart politicians who have not paid you your vig should should not whine so loud when the microscope is put on your words.

Jan. 09 2011 09:02 PM

YOU are part of the problem. Sarah Palin is almost as culpable as the shooter. What did she think would happen when she "chose" to put a bulls eye with cross hairs on targets? Here is a perfect example of why I could not vote for McCain in the election. God forbid something happen to him and this thoughtless mouth got into office of the President. The blame game and negative rhetoric is what is causing this country and it's people to act out against one another. Shame on you!

Jan. 09 2011 09:01 PM
Christopher Ehemann from here

Sarah Palin and others in her party and Fox News in particular are to blame for insight this type of violent act. You can't crosshair someone and then say I had nothing to do with it. The writter is obviously unrealistic. [[This comment has been edited. Please remember the WNYC posting policy, which asks you to remain civil.]]

Jan. 09 2011 08:59 PM
Shouting Thomas

It's been a day of public awfulness.

Sara Palin had nothing to do with this.

Stop trying to make political hay out of a personal tragedy.

That's what's disgusting.

Jan. 09 2011 08:59 PM
Gregory from Dallas Texas

The author of the article is clearly an idiot who has fallen for the Tea Party foolishness.Sarah Pallin isn't smart enough herself to come up with her line of bull c*@p, she has speech writers.I'm suprised she can repeat what they wrote.The Tea Party clearly should shoulder the blame and issue a public apology.Gun metaphors and calls to violence in the political arena need to stop.The sad part is we had to have a tradegy happen for us to realize it.

Jan. 09 2011 08:54 PM
Karol from NYC

No, Jane, people who blamed the shooting on Palin, or rhetoric, or a map, with ZERO evidence, and continue to push that narrative in the face of proof that it's wrong, those people are irrational.

Jan. 09 2011 08:44 PM

When people start showing up at Town Halls with their guns, trash a congresswoman's office, you are witnessing terrorism. Look it up. Intimidation etc. By the way, the left hates Sarah Palin because she plays the victim all the time. She adds NOTHING to the national table. She is not even brave enough to answer question fielded at a press conference of go on news programs of liberal networks to talk about her policies...oh wait she has no ideas.

Jan. 09 2011 08:41 PM
kevin from Philadelphia

So with all the nutcases we know we have in this country, and our love of free speech and guns, someone putting up a map with a gunsight on this lady using language like take her out and reload....none of that matters?
Maybe we need to take some responsibility here, knowing we have these crazies living with us and they have easy access to guns. Just maybe.

Jan. 09 2011 08:30 PM
Jane_Rebelowski from Washington State

People who do not agree 100% with your point of view are irrational?

Jan. 09 2011 08:26 PM
Bill Jenkins from Chicago

[[This comment was edited for violating the WNYC posting policy.
-IAFC Moderator]]

You seemed to have put out glue traps for the folks who suffer from Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Shoot out a TV, fools. Make yourself feel better to blame a Palin.

Liberals are simple-minded fools who are hypocrites and scumbags.

This nation is divided beyond repair.

Jan. 09 2011 08:25 PM
steely inoue

Great blog. Long time libertarian tired of the progressive communist left spinning horrible tragedies like this for there mis guided agendas. You can even here the hate in these comments. Palin uses cross hairs to speak to an audience who owns guns and respects the constitutional right to bear arms. Definately not for hate speech.More liberal anti gun, fascist, scary, scary, politics.........

Jan. 09 2011 08:22 PM
Enn from MI

I don't blame Palin per say for the shooting but I am am very glad she is getting fallout anyway,
I hope NRA will get the fallout too. Evidently the boy is disturbed, however I hate guns and violence and I hate these stupid folkish blurbs and semi-calls to violence. Public figures cannot behave or say stupid stuff like: "Don't retrieve - Reload!" etc... However rhetorical these phrases may be - who she is calling out to reload against?! Fellow Americans?!!!

Jan. 09 2011 08:21 PM
Karol from NYC

And, I should add, irrational.

Jan. 09 2011 08:15 PM

Anyone that does not believe that the dispecable rhetoric being spoken by politicians who are suppose to be OUR representative and hold him or her self to the highest esteem as role models especially for kids, did not contributed to this massacre today need to take a serious assessment of themselves as human being. What I have witness these past 2 years from some politicians, political groups, radio and tv personalities, are a disgrace.

When is it ok for any politician to use images such as rifle crosshairs to TAKE OUT a political opponent. And what is even more disturbing is that this individual was considered to be the Vice-President of these United States. What a joke! This woman is not a politician, she is an embarassment to this country, to the political system, and to woman. She is an opportunist and nothing more. Teaparty, open your eyes and understand that this lady is only using your group for her own personal gain. She is a quitter. Is this someone you want your kids to immulate. I hope not.

We can disagree and have civil debates about our disagreements and continue to serve the PEOPLE. When our elected officials promote violence against political opponents or political groups they need to be held accountable.

Lets all pray for the vitims and their families of this senseless act.

Jan. 09 2011 08:14 PM
Kelly from Fayetteville, NC

No one that I've read is blaming Palin. But when you put crosshairs over someone's image, and then that someone gets shot, well, what do you expect?

If Ms. Palin doesn't want to be affiliated with this type of action, she may want to use different types of imagery and speech in the future.

Jan. 09 2011 08:14 PM
Karol from NYC

Anybody who persists in trying to blame Sarah Palin for the shooting should consider talking to a mental health professional. It's not normal to be that angry and hateful.

Jan. 09 2011 08:14 PM
Allison from Brooklyn NY

Karol, you're a dip.

Jan. 09 2011 08:10 PM
In utah

You need to attend an anti-bullying seminar-Sarah exhibits classic bully behavior. She screams, incites other people and then when something bad happens she whines and says, "What did I do?" I didn't do anything. You need to listen to the Sheriff that made the announcements about what happened..he said it very concisely.
If Sarah Palin or Rush or Glenn were 13 years old and engaged in the behavior and language they are famous for they would have been suspended and expelled from our school a long time ago. Is there a cut-off age where people can start acting inappropriately and not be civil? These people are terrible role models for our children and yet they have a loud voice in the media.
You say it's a free country? Does that mean we engage in behavior and language that makes it unsafe for those who live around us? It's funny, I only hear the comment "It's a free country" from people who are doing something they know is not right... It's seems the only people who scream, "They are going to take my first amendment rights away" are those who know they are engaged in wrong behavior. This article is despicable.

Jan. 09 2011 08:06 PM
Against Palin

Hitler never actually pulled a trigger or opened the gas valves so I guess by your way of thinking he wasn't responsible either. Palin's brand is all about justification of hatred. Oh, and just so you know, I'm not a liberal.

Jan. 09 2011 08:06 PM
Sally from MI

So the fact that he posted on Palin's Facebook page is irrelevant, knowing that she has in her employ people whose only job is to take down any post critical of her, and his weren't? So the fact that he had met Gabby, and recently called her 'dumb' is irrelevant? And of course the fact the Arizona recently passed a concealed weapons law, allowing them everywhere and requiring no registration, also means nothing? I'm not buying it. Palin has been advocating violence from day one in the national eye. And you know that it is her mantra to never retreat, just reload. Sounds like a challenge to someone to do something.

Jan. 09 2011 08:04 PM
Pamela from Jackson

Sarah Palin's political career is over.

Jan. 09 2011 08:03 PM

‎"I want you to argue with them and get in their face." -- Barack Obama

"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." -- Barack Obama

Oh, but I guess that does not count.....because he did not hold up a set of "cross hairs" when he said it.

The underlying problem in American society is that NOBODY ever thinks they (or anyone else) is responsible for their own actions. And our government, with all their bailouts, handouts, political backscratching, etc., are role models for enabling behavior.

Jan. 09 2011 08:02 PM
Karol from NYC

Just like I wrote in my post: the most amazing thing is that so many of you still continue to push this rhetoric line. You were wrong. Just admit it, apologized and move on. Don't keep pushing something plainly incorrect.

Jan. 09 2011 08:02 PM
Deitrich from Atlanta, GA

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama told the audience. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.” - Barack Obama

"..And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq 'We have our good days and our bad days.' We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days' and pull the trigger." -- From a fundraising ad put out by the St. Petersburg Democratic Club

"I believe in ecoterrorism." -- James Cameron

"F*** God D*mned Joe the God D*mned Motherf*cking plumber! I want Motherf*cking Joe the plumber dead." -- Liberal talk show host Charles Karel Bouley

I am tired of the democratic party and its current leadership speaking with violent rhetoric. It is obvious that this man was a lunatic. Among his favorite books was the founding document of modern liberalism "The Communist Manifesto", and the National Socialist "Mein Kampf". The violent rhetoric obviously ignited this man to act out against one of the more moderate democrats in the democrat party. She obviously wasn't left enough for him.

Jan. 09 2011 07:58 PM
jake from sacramento

Yes, words do matter. I wonder when the analysts, commentators and self-styled journalists will realize that. Safely ensconced in their metropolitan lives, they often forget that America can be a hard, dirty, and violent place. A place where people who are hanging by a thread can be unduly influenced by the media and cannot be counted on to act rationally and with sense.

Jan. 09 2011 07:56 PM
Smart Person

You're an idiot - Palin's crosshairs were criticized and condemned from the time they were published. Target vs. Crosshairs are very different - especially with you tell people "don't retreat, RELOAD"

Jan. 09 2011 07:53 PM
Jane_Rebelowski from Washington State

Something that Ms. Palin and the writer of this article fail to understand is that words matter.

Jan. 09 2011 07:47 PM
Hanan from New York City

Palin has championed the kind of rhetoric that is turning some people on to radical reactionary behavior; first verbally, and with direction for follow-up physical action. While she has had plenty of help from the media for these platforms, there is NO WAY to dissassociate the shooting of Giffords and Judge Roll from the cocky direct statements and inferences she and fellow tea-partiers have made. Were those words okay until someone got killed?

Jan. 09 2011 07:47 PM

Your argument doesn't excuse Palin's rhetoric which specifically put individuals behind crosshairs saying "don't retreat - RELOAD." Too easily misinterpreted by crazies, and, we all know we do not need more antagonism, divisiveness, and polarization in our country. We need careful thinking.

Jan. 09 2011 07:44 PM
Mar from Anchorage

Based on the evidence I think that
Sarah Palin encouraged violent behavior. In this case the results were unimtended. There are countless Republicans in AZ, why do you think this man chose someone on Sarah Palins website?

Sarah Palin is a cold person. I know her, she is self serving! Politicians serve the Public! She doesn't!

Jan. 09 2011 07:42 PM

Thank you for forthrightly stating and sharing what is true.

Here's an idea for those who need someone to blame... Why don't we just blame and hold the shooter accountable.

Jan. 09 2011 07:42 PM
Mae from Anchorage

Wrong? Did you notice who he shot?

Jan. 09 2011 07:32 PM
Bobbi Brooks from Denver

Ok, I see what you're saying but its the wrong premise. The premise is rhetoric about guns and violence - constantly from Ms. Palin - can ignite sick minds.

Jan. 09 2011 07:30 PM

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